Photo: Arlan Galbraith
by BETTER FARMING STAFF
© Copyright AgMedia Inc
Robert Siebring, who operated pigeon holding barns at RR1 Palmerston, Ont. for the now-defunct Pigeon King International, is suing owner Arlan Galbraith for more than $1.5 million.
On Nov. 3, the same day Siebring’s action was filed, a bankruptcy inspector for PKI applied to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Bankruptcy and Insolvency to declare Galbraith personally bankrupt.
Waterloo, Ontario-based PKI sold pigeon breeding pairs for as much as $500 and bought back offspring for up to $50 each. When Galbraith placed the business in bankruptcy last summer he left roughly 1,000 investors in Canada and the United States with worthless pigeons.
In a statement of claim not yet tested in court, Siebring alleges Galbraith personally owes him the money for breach of contract and costs related to the rental and operation of two barns on his Palmerston-area property and two pigeon breeding contracts.
Galbraith, who until the bankruptcy boasted that his business was debt free, says he has been operating since 2001. Public records show that the business was only incorporated in 2007. Before incorporation he personally signed contracts with breeders.
In an interview on Monday, Galbraith said that he found it “a little bit absurd” that people might think they were dealing with him personally since the 2007 incorporation of PKI. “Everybody was doing business with the corporation.”
“They can claim they were (dealing with him personally) but obviously I would dispute that, right?” he said.
Jim Wiersma, of Fisherville, Ontario, is one of five inspectors the company’s creditors appointed at a meeting in July (one of those creditors has since resigned). His application claims Galbraith owes him nearly $23,000 and requests that PKI’s trustee, the Kitchener office of BDO Dunwoody Limited, be appointed as Galbraith’s trustee.
Siebring’s claim states that Galbraith did not succeed in arranging any end use for the birds other than new contract farmers. He claims to have spent a “substantial” amount of money to renovate two of his barns to house young pigeons purchased from other contract farmers. He claims the barns now can’t be used for other types of livestock and there is no other pigeon industry in Ontario “capable” of using the barns.
Siebring further claims he was forced to obtain the assistance of the Ontario Farm Animal Council to euthanize about 40,000 birds and was stuck with the costs of disposing of the carcasses after PKI’s June collapse.
No date has yet been set to hear Siebring’s claim. There is no record in the court file of the claim being served on Galbraith.
On Monday, Galbraith declined comment on whether he was aware of an action proceeding against him. He said he hasn’t been served legal notice but would be available if someone wanted to serve him.
“I’m readily available,” says Galbraith – “always have been.”
Neither Siebring nor his lawyer, Waterloo-based Edward Oldfield, were available for comment. BF
© Copyright AgMedia Inc